Reviewing back again I made similar posts about bootstrapping ExpressJS and tools and I’m always look into things how to improve and what could be the new best practise. I’m expecting you use Node Version Manager (nvm) for development.

Some improvements are:

  • no more global installations
  • make use of npx command
  • make use of package.json script attribute to store development bin commands, for example gulp.
  • and more.

Generate project

This project is tested from:
Node v14.2.0, NPM v6.14.4
npx express-generator --hbs --css sass --git express-2020
Project Directory: /vue-express-2020/
--hbs add handlebars engine support.
--css sass add sassMiddleware change to scss later on.
--git add .gitignore.
# install dependencies:
cd express-2020 && npm i

# run the app:
DEBUG=express-2020:* npm start

Initiate Git

The following commands will run on /vue-express-2020/ as /

For any project you should initiate git. Luckily the engine already give us some config for .gitignore file.

A collection of useful .gitignore templates

# Initiate Git
git init

# add .gitignore and commit
git add .gitignore  
git commit -avm "INIT .gitignore - express-2020"

# add current structure
git add .
git commit -avm "INIT default file structure ExpressJS ~4.16.1 with Handlebars Sass support"

Add Node version

# Save current Node version to .nvmrc
node -v > .nvmrc

# Commit file
git add .nvmrc
git commit -m "Node $(node -v) NPM $(npm -v)"
Always save node/npm version in your project, so you know the project you build on will always work, future Node version might break your app. And also for working in team, it’s important that they use the same version as well, and will prevent some confusion in the future.

Configure: set SASS to SCSS

Enabling SCSS

  indentedSyntax: false, // true = .sass and false = .scss
Snippet: /app.js, Set: true to false

Replace style.sass to style.scss

body {
	padding: 50px;
	font: 14px 'Lucida Grande', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;

a {
	color: #00b7ff;
In /public/stylesheets/ Replace: style.sass to style.scss

Git commit: set SASS to SCSS

git add .
git commit -avm "set SASS to SCSS"


Add Handlebars Partial view configuration

Let’s edit app.js and add lines

var hbs = require('hbs');
hbs.registerPartials(__dirname + '/views/partials');

So it look like

var path = require('path');
var favicon = require('serve-favicon');
var logger = require('morgan');
var cookieParser = require('cookie-parser');
var bodyParser = require('body-parser');
var hbs = require('hbs');

var routes = require('./routes/index');
var users = require('./routes/users');

var app = express();

// view engine setup
hbs.registerPartials(__dirname + '/views/partials');
app.set('views', path.join(__dirname, 'views'));
app.set('view engine', 'hbs');

Snippet: app.js

Create .hbs partials views and layout


	<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=edge" />
	<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1, maximum-scale=1.0, user-scalable=no" />
	<link rel="stylesheet" href="//" />
	<link rel="stylesheet" href="//" />
File: /views/partials/header.hbs
	<script src=""></script>
File: /views/partials/script.hbs


<!DOCTYPE html>
    <link rel='stylesheet' href='/stylesheets/style.css' />
file: /views/­layout.hbs

Git commit: Handlebars partials layout

git add views/partials/. views/layout.hbs
git commit -m "Handlebars partials layout"

Resources directory for development

We want to separate files from development ./resources to production ./public.

In production we want to load for example all-in-one stylesheet style.css, where we have easily maintainable scss in the resources folder.

File Structure

Move scss file

Move public/stylesheets/style.scss to resources/scss/style.scss

Configure sassMiddleware middleware

We want to fix paths to make the middleware work again.

		src: path.join(__dirname, 'resources', 'scss'),
		dest: path.join(__dirname, 'public', 'css'),
		prefix: '/css',
		indentedSyntax: false, // true = .sass and false = .scss
		sourceMap: true
Snippet: app.js
src: resources/scss
dest: public/css
prefix: /css

Fix path layout.hbs

Change /stylesheets/style.css to /css/style.css

<!DOCTYPE html>

  <link rel='stylesheet' href='/css/style.css' />


File: views/layout.hbs


Ignore style.css

# public
Snippet: .gitignore

Commit "Resources directory for development"

git add .gitignore app.js views/layout.hbs resources/scss/style.scss 
git rm public/stylesheets/style.scss

git commit -m "Resource directory for development"


Clone single branch

git clone -b bootstrap --single-branch

(Optional) Next Step